By Keith Idec
Co-promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com that Hughie Fury and Jarrell Miller are among the opponents being considered for Joseph Parker’s first heavyweight title defense sometime late in March.
New Zealand’s Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) won the then-vacant WBO heavyweight championship against American Andy Ruiz (29-1, 19 KOs), whom Parker beat by majority decision December 10 in Auckland, New Zealand. His first defense can come against an optional opponent.
England’s Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), a cousin of former WBO heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, is ranked No. 2 among the WBO’s heavyweight contenders and owns the WBO Intercontinental title. Brooklyn’s Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs) is ranked No. 4 by the WBO and has the NABO championship.
Former WBA champion David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, but London’s Haye has committed to an all-British battle against Liverpool’s Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs) on March 4 at London’s O2 Arena.
“Miller is a possibility,” said Arum, whose company, Top Rank Inc., became Parker’s co-promoter just before he fought Ruiz. “Hughie Fury is a possibility. We’ll take our time and figure it out.”
The 24-year-old Parker fought five times in 2016 and is enjoying some well-deserved time off following his championship victory at a sold-out Vector Arena in his native Acukland. He is very popular in New Zealand, but Arum wants to bring the 6-foot-4, 246-pound Parker, who resides and trains in Las Vegas, to the United States for his next fight.
“I think Parker is gonna fight at the end of March and I think the plan is to have him fight in the United States,” Arum said. “Vegas or L.A. or New York. We’ll see. Wherever it makes the most sense.”
Arum also believes a Parker-Ruiz rematch is a fight that should take place at some point. Parker out-pointed Ruiz, of Imperial, California, by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114 in a mostly tactical encounter.
“The truth is, I scored it even,” Arum said. “It was an exciting fight when you were there [at ringside]. I thought it was pretty exciting. You know, for a heavyweight fight, very exciting. So yeah, I think eventually we’ll do a rematch.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.